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Third-Person Person
Dr. Lutz: Tell me, why do you insist on referring to yourself in the third person? It's intensely irritating!
Hercule Poirot: It helps Poirot to keep a distance from his genius.
Poirot, "The Labours of Hercules"

A Third-Person Person is a character who always refers to himself or herself in the third person.

In Japanese media, this is a standard tic of very young children. As a result, girls who are childish or cutesy may be seen referring to themselves in this manner. In older characters, however, it may be a sign of psychological issues, such as a very traumatic event in their past. It also may be a sign of humility, so samurai and noblewomen usually refer to themselves in the third person when talking to their lords. If a character transitions into a Third-Person Person over the course of the series, watch out for signs of Yandere, and keep tabs on all pointy objects. (hidden linguistic note) 

On the other hand, a Western character who refers to himself in the third person will usually either be vain, unintelligent, egotistical, or self-absorbed — the implication being that he is so in awe of himself that even he views himself objectively. Or the character is a Hulk Speaking primitive. Or the character could be just a Cloud Cuckoolander with a weird speech mannerism. An egotistical villain will especially refer to himself in this fashion if he has a cool or impressive-sounding name or title. Sometimes a character with Acquired Situational Narcissism will temporarily become a Third-Person Person as a sign of his suddenly expanded ego. There are examples of this trope used in the Japanese way, though, such as Elmo from Sesame Street.

The technical term for this is "illeism", from the Latin word for "that" (sometimes also used like "he") with "-ism" attached. If the speaker does this for only for a story in which they are revealed as the central character, it's ...And That Little Girl Was Me or Narrator All Along.

See also Hulk Speak and Verbal Tic. Almost as bad as people who insist their name has a "The" in there somewhere. Pokémon Speak is when a character says their name over and over because it's literally the only thing they can say.

Example subpages:


    open/close all folders 

  • A commercial for Progressive auto insurance has a guy who comes into "the Progressive store" to talk with Flo about auto insurance refers to himself in this manner, confusing her at first. Then another associate shows up and he gets confused as well, leading Flo to be all "Here we go again."

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes has a short arc where Calvin demands that he be called "Calvin the Bold", going on to say that "Calvin the Bold will begin referring to himself in the third person." Then his dad knighted him with the name Mud, and the whole charade disappeared very quickly.
  • Lucy van Pelt did this when she was very young, in early Peanuts strips.
  • Terry and the Pirates has several of these: Dragon Lady, Sanjak, Rouge, Klang...

    Fan Works 

    New Media 
  • It is almost instinctive in Gender Bender stories to refer to one's opposite-gender self in the third person, usually as her name.
  • I Love Bees has Monster Ann, a minor antagonist who speaks this way.
  • Inverted by me, an ordinary toaster named SCP-426, who makes everyone around me refer to me in the first person. And that's only the least of my effects.
    • Played straight with SCP-811, a swamp woman who combines this with Hulk Speak due to her poor vocabulary.
  • Waluigi within the Mario Party TV series, as voiced by The Reverend Inferno.
  • Fandomstuck has Cute Monster Girl Tsukeysprite and Calamity Kid, the Anthropomorphic Personification of Bastion. In the latter's case, he technically refers to himself by a title rather than his name, unless, of course, his name really is Kid.

    Pro Wrestling  
  • The Rock says... he is going to lay the smackdown on the jabronis who neglected to mention him here!
  • Not as common, but Mr. Kennedy (...KENNEDY!) still makes it a big deal in his pre-match promo.
  • It's not uncommon for wrestlers to use their title nicknames to refer to themselves. Triple H has been quite guilty of this lately (King of Kings going back on his throne, you know the deal)... and that's the bottom line, 'cause Stone Cold said so!

    Puppet Shows 
  • This is a permanent feature of the puppet for Alain Delon (see Real Life below) in Les Guignols De L Info.
  • Elmo of Sesame Street does this; it's part of the reason he's so adorable. Not so much ego as he hasn't learned pronouns yet.
    • The Mexican version, Plaza Sesamo, has Lola doing it as well, since she's the show's Elmo equivalent.

  • Mitch Benn spends part of one episode of Mitch Benn's Crimes Against Music in the third-person for tax purposes.
  • Most of the cast of The Navy Lark would slip in and out of whenever it was funny, but C.P.O. Pertwee and Fatso Johnson would do it more than most.
  • Denis King of Hello Cheeky would do this whenever he had just told a terrible, terrible joke. Usually the statement would go along the lines of "How does he think of them?" or "He's working well tonight!"

    Web Video 
  • Caveman of The Time... Guys fame talk like this, but Caveman's prodigious cave-telligence imply this done more for style.


Tall, Dark and HandsomeStock CharactersTomboy
Third-Option Love InterestCharacters as DeviceThis Loser Is You
Theseus' Ship ParadoxWe Are Not Alone IndexThis Is a Work of Fiction

alternative title(s): Illeism
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